What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

In Type 2 Diabetes, your body may still make insulin, but is unable to effectively use the insulin it does make (insulin resistance). Eventually the body doesn’t make enough insulin (insulin deficiency). Type 2 used to be called “non-insulin dependent diabetes.” People who have it can be treated with proper meal planning, physical activity, and may require medications. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for 90%-95% of cases. Although it can occur in younger people, people over age 45 are at higher risk, and some people are just more likely to develop diabetes.

  • The tendency to develop Type 2 Diabetes is inherited.
  • It does not always come from being too heavy.
  • It is not caused by eating too much sugar.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

No one knows the exact cause of Type 2 Diabetes, but we do know that it is more likely to occur in individuals who have certain risk factors. Among these factors are older age, obesity, family history of Type 2 Diabetes, and certain race/ethnicity (African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander).

Symptoms and Signs

In its early stages, Type 2 Diabetes often has no symptoms. When symptoms finally do occur, they often come on gradually and may be quite subtle. Early signs of diabetes may include:

  • increased hunger and thirst
  • numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • blurred vision
  • frequent gum, skin, or bladder infections
  • slow healing of cuts or sores
  • feeling tired
  • frequent infections
  • increased urination

Unfortunately, Type 2 Diabetes frequently remains undiagnosed until many years after it begins, when more serious complications appear. For this reason, the American Diabetes Association recommends that people age 45 and over be tested for diabetes at least every 3 years. Adults who are overweight or obese and who have one or more additional risk factors should also be tested at least every 3 years, regardless of age.

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes cannot be cured. But, it can be managed by various treatments including the use of diabetes medications. While most people with Type 2 Diabetes take either diabetes pills, insulin or both, a few can manage their blood sugar with careful meal planning and regular physical activity.

Meal planning and exercise are important parts of diabetes management, regardless of the type of medicine used. Always talk with your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program or making significant changes to your diet.

The earlier your diabetes is diagnosed – and managed with appropriate treatment, the better your chances are for living a long and healthy life!

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